NOT love at first sight
i have heard all kinds of hoopla about bar keepers friend for years. i even bought some about a year and a half ago, and after half-heartedly using it on a few things around my house, decided it was not a keeper. the nearly full bottle was one of things that got thrown out when we moved into our new house about a year ago.
jenny recently revived a vintage desk chair and used barkeepers friend and a pumice stone. i have a similar chair (vintage, chrome) that also has some rust on it....
i tried using some backing soda and steel wool, but i wasn't super impressed with the results.
i bought the liquid form, and slathered it on my chair, making sure that i had some old towels and cardboard under it.
at first, i used the pumice stone, which was nice, but my chair has so many little nooks and crannies, and i knew i needed something more brush-like to reach into all those groves and details.
the combination of the bar keepers friend with the wire brush was the magic bullet for me. these two together removed nearly all of the rust (there are still a few small areas where the pitting was pretty bad), and really shined up my chair!
i had to admit, that i was falling in love!
(and why did i never realize how awesome you are?)
ok, well this is the part of the love story when i REALLY fell in love!
i have been avoided stripping my vintage desk for a long time. i purchased the desk about 8 years ago at an antique shop in hartselle, alabama. when i bought it, i knew it needed to be refinished.
as you can see, the top of the desk had some pretty severe water staining on it--the entire left side had about a dozen little water marks. here is what it looked like after i stripped all the stain off:
on the right side there were also some water marks, but the biggest and most obvious culprit was this dark stain---
i did some research online that said that these dark watermarks can be removed with something called oxalic acid. apparently, this mild rhubarb-dervied bleach is available in crystal form. it needs to be dissolved in water, and then can be applied to the wood.
i watched a few very convincing you tube videos, and then set off to find me some oxalic acid!
i went to lowes, thinking for SURE they would have some. (NOPE.)
i showed the "wood and stain EXPERT" the picture of the dark stain on the desk top, hoping she would have some other ideas, and do you even want to know what she said?
sure you do.
because it was pretty awesome.
it a bad way.
she said.."you know---i think that might just be the grain of the wood...yeah. that's what it looks like. you know---that's probably not even a stain."
that is what it is like 47 shades darker than the rest of the wood.
and in the outline of a GLASS.
the "expert" then tried to convince me to buy me a gallon jug of deck cleaner for $30, and i was like "uh...no. i actually trust you less than my 10 year old son to advise me on wood stain removal. but thanks."
ok, i didn't actually say that, but i wanted to.
ANYWAY, i went back home and googled where i COULD find this elusive oxalic acid. it was easy to find a place to purchase it online, but i wanted it YESTERDAY. even if i had to drive across town to get it, i was convinced i would have some by the end of the day.
well, as i was researching oxalic acid, an article caught my eye that said that the active ingredient in bar keepers friend was OXALIC ACID!
of course i was super skeptical, so i tried seeing if i could find any pictures of of before and afters of people using this method....i am not gonna lie. there were only a few. and none of them very convincing, but i decided to give it a try.
here is the dark stain before:
at first, i very cautiously dabbed just the stain with the barkeepers friend:
i was literally petrified that it would ruin the wood.
i only left it on for about a minute, but i could tell it had indeed lightened the stain.
i applied two more quick applications, and i then started worrying that there were going to be bleach marks on the wood where the barkeepers friend was applied, and so i mixed some water with my liquid barkeepers friend, and smeared it over the entire desk.
i let it sit for about 3 minutes, and could totally see that it was working to remove the other water stains! i applied one more all-over coat, and was AMAZED at what a difference it made!
here is the desk top, after the first coat of stain:
so, in short, here is what i learned:
barkeepers friend is really great at not only removing rust from metal, but it can also be used to remove water stains from WOOD.
and, i am now in love: